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The Internet – Blessing or curse?
If used carefully, the Internet can prove a boon. Otherwise, it may become a bane. Youngsters in particular need to be counselled on how to exploit the Internet for their welfare. Many are trapped by un-scrupulous elements, which lie in wait
THE FASTEST way to access the best of information is undoubtedly through the Internet. It is said to be the cheapest and everyone agrees with it. Browsing is considered much easier than flipping through pages and pages of books in the library. With technological advance-ment, today’s youth find it easier to Google for anything on the inter-net. Is it safe to browse through anything over the Internet is still a question that confronts many. How far is the Internet safe for the ado-lescents? Is the Internet a blessing for the youth or is it a nuisance that retards the minds of the growing youngsters?
Well, it is no good to say that the Internet is a curse or is harmful for the youth. It is anonymously playing the role of ’Alaadin’s Chirag’ where a giant genie gets anything and everything in line with the de-sire of the owner of the magic lamp. Internet is a ’magic lamp’ helping billions of people all over the world to stay connected and share in-formation; it builds strong relationships in the busy world with instant messaging and E-mail reaching anywhere in the world in seconds.
Thanks to the Internet, nobody, who boasts of a connection today, feels lonely or friendless. Today, without a friend in the world, there is merely no one. Every person socialises these days - not necessarily by going out – but just by clicking the mouse we are with the people we want to be with.
Social networking sites are a boon to Internet users. It is fortunate to remain connected with anyone in the world. Internet brings us a lot of advantages; people depend on it very much nowadays. They are in fact obsessed with it. It is a network, which can link you with all the people around the world; or we can say that it is a network that we can’t see but all the same, connects us with ’n’ number of people. The social networking websites are going through a boom. Sites like Orkut, Wayn, Facebook and Myspace help in establishing social con-tacts. But the question is how far these sites are safe and secure. Do they provide enough security to the people using them or the people are unwittingly disclosing their personal information to strangers? Or why the Internet is being used by youngsters still remains a big ques-tion unanswered, I am sure.
With the Valentine’s Day fast approaching, blind dates are being planned by a number of youngsters. The youngster is ready to meet a stranger of a few days. It is crazy. I mean they say ’we are following our hearts’. Does the heart have anything to do with the decisions your mind has made? Why blame it on the heart and not on the mind?
These days, the youth addicted to networking online, need proper guidance and counselling. The youth should bear the following points in mind before entering into any relationship through the Internet:
•           Never exchange personal details especially address and phone number.
•           Don‘t reveal your password
•           Set the security settings properly in respect of social networking sites.
•           Ignore and report any spam that harasses you.
Remember, the Internet establishes new relationships and breaks oth-ers. In a recent case, an employee of a call centre was fired just be-cause he took off for an outing with a girl. He had set a status mes-sage saying he was parting with his girlfriend. It was read by the RM of the company and the guy had to lose his job. These days it is really easy to browse through any profile online and ascertain the personal details of any person. So if you are using the networking sites, you should be careful. You never know who is watching you. It is a web and a trap that offers the good and the bad. Go for the good because the Chirag of Internet not only spreads light but can also plunge you into darkness.

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shafi rahman
merinews for RTI activists
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